The Appearance is You. You have willed it to life.
Appearances are projections of yourself. You are a brave warrior, strong, beautiful, a hero, a star. You believe in yourself because what is made to appear to you is your own image in all its glorious hyperreal vishwaroop. You are invincible, powerful. You are the winner, you rule. Thus, the appearance rules.
Appearances are of course prone to shattering depending on the vantage point. Depending on where the viewer stands the view is different. The cool thing though is, appearances don’t have to cater to all viewers. It is a very specific set that is identified and targeted in order to sustain the illusion. It’s a rainbow over a city that only some can see because of where they stand. It is their rainbow.
Appearances construct themselves through collective effort. The captive watcher, the image capturer, the documenter of the capture of the image, the instigator of the construction of this scene, the forces of history and society that led to this moment that will be captured into an appearance.
You are part of this capture yourself. You are invested in it because it has been set up for your entertainment, so you remain in its thrall while the instigators speak for you on your behalf. They create an appearance of what you stand for and by choosing to watch passively you are invested in this creation. You will be a loyal defender of the product as much as the process of creating it. You will see nothing questionable in creating this appearance and by not asking why it is being done, you perpetuate it.
The narcissist traps us in his mirror, he reflects what we want to see, which is what he wants us to see, but really he is obsessed with what he sees — the image of himself. we happily go along mesmerised by the mirage. We are fully submerged in that murky pool — the drowned audience watching in awe a man looking at himself, believing he is looking at them.
When desperation is the truth, hope is the illusion. So illusions are created to replace hope. In a visual world, how easy this is.
When inequality is the truth, appearances of equality are the solution because they are the fastest to achieve and what age do we live in? The one of instant gratification, no? So solutions are projected to create illusions of hope. And in a visual world, how easy this is. And we are quick to gulp the solution to keep ourselves free for entertainment.
None of this is new of course, godmen and charmers have forever played illusionists to keep you in their thrall. What is updated is the methodology of imagery, the tools at their tips, and your tips too to keep the charade going. False stories spread faster. A study found that “falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than truth in all categories of information”. Bullshit spreads exponentially in networks.
Besides, have we levelled up now so that we only sense ourselves if we see ourselves? Do we only feel alive if we watch ourselves perform? Has appearance so fully integrated into our experience of ourselves?
Is Social Media to blame? No it is only the symptom. It is about everything being on sale. Currency of appearance. “Personal branding” is a natural progression of branding, of Bernays’s propaganda. Clothes worn once for the benefit of Instagram audiences are about fulfilling corporate desires. Personal is Political obviously, here it fuels political cronies’ coffers.
We may be nearing post-appearance though. Fascism hand in hand with Corporations is today. Late stage Capitalism is referred to by the stalest of Facebook posts. So post-appearance means we’ve been had. Some of us will withdraw from saturation, from visual overload but most importantly, due to surveillance capitalism. It’s too late sure, but some will withdraw. They’re feeding our faces to train AIs but whatever too late. Some of us’ll go into shells. Others will be the shining radiant faces of #NewIndia.